ENG 122: College Composition

English 122-056
Fall 2017
3:30 pm – 4:45
Candelaria Hall 2375

Dr. Marc C. Santos
Office Location & Hours: 1180D Wednesday 1:00-2:00. Thursday 1:00-2:00. Also by appointment.

UNC Course Catalog Description

[English 122] Extensive practice in writing clear and effective academic prose with special attention to purpose, audience, organization, and style. Instruction in critical analysis and revision. (LAC 1b, gtP)

Course Purpose and Goals

English 122, First-Year Composition, meets the Colorado Department of Higher Education (DHE) competency criteria under Statutory justification: §23-1-125(3) for a first-year writing course (GT-CO1 and CT-CO2). In particular, ENG 122 develops and fosters the habits of mind essential for students’ achievement in various fields and disciplines both in the post-secondary classroom and the workplace. Through comprehensive instruction in critical reading, thoughtful analysis, and effective writing, students are prepared to complete the following tasks: to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes, and contexts in comprehending and creating texts; to analyze situations or texts and make informed decisions based on that analysis; and to employ various strategies to approach and undertake research and writing in multiple environments and modes–from traditional pen and paper to electronic technologies.

Course Description

I believe strong writing develops out of careful reading and strategic engagement with a specific community/audience. Also, I believe that the purpose of a writing class is to help students develop relevant writing skills to their own intellectual, professional, and/or personal trajectories. Finally, I believe a writing class should explore a wide variety of writing and communication technologies. The design of this class is a reflection of all three of these beliefs.

This semester you will develop a writing program situated in a discourse community. A discourse community is a group of people who share interests and methods. I, along with a group of instructors, have put together a collection of communities you might potentially join, along with some popular places where you can find writers. These communities include politics, sports, Star Wars, feminism, music, culture, video games, comic books, graphic novels, superheroes, and/or Dungeons and Dragons.

For our first few weeks, you will select one of these communities and do further research (including major writers, publications, upcoming events, fan forums, etc). With football season coming, you might want to join the fantasy football community. If you are interested in movies, then you might participate in upcoming deliberations regarding the Oscars and Golden Globes. Since we are on the brink of nuclear war, you might be interested in writing about politics or activism. The key here is for you to select something you are already invested in, something you enjoy doing, and something that has an active community on medium.com.

This semester you will join medium.com, and draft, revise, and post 4 pieces over an 8 week span. The exact nature of your writing will be explicated in your first project, which asks you to identify which discourse community you wish to join and outline what shape you think your writing will take each week. Your medium posts will both survey how other writers are reacting to a problem or event and offer your own perspective. In addition to writing your own essays, you will use medium.com’s commenting features to offer feedback and advice to classmates.

Our class will operate similar to a creative writing workshop. On Mondays, I will spend a little time presenting an important concept germane to writing. These can include genre awareness, stylistic devices, elements of logical argumentation, issues with formatting, grammatical concerns, or more theoretical concerns such as ethos or kairos. On Wednesdays, we will meet in the computer lab to work on writing. This will often involve drafting material based on Monday’s lecture, or revising material from the previous week’s writing. Sometimes I will have you read what another student has written and make suggestions. Sometimes we will spend a class session writing a single sentence. Sometimes we will spend a class transforming a paragraph into a tweet. Also, we will do a significant amount of writing in class, especially earlier in the semester. On Fridays, we will workshop. We will spend a significant amount of class time examining writing as a class, identifying what works and what doesn’t. The purpose of workshopping isn’t only to provide feedback to the writer; it also helps everyone improve their rhetorical awareness and ability to identify successful composing.

But I want to warn up front what we won’t be doing in class. I won’t be “teaching” you to write. Writing cannot be taught. It can, however, be learned. As an instructor, my job is to establish conditions that maximize your potential to improve as writers. Contemporary research suggests that this requires me to a) make sure you read as much as possible, b) make sure you read not only for content but also for structure and conventions (genre), c) help you develop sophisticated ways of seeing and talking about writing, and d) make you write A LOT. This second project aims to do all of these things week in and week out.

At the conclusion of the course, you will compose a 6-8 page research paper that grows out of your work on medium.com. We will visit the library to grow more familiar with their resources and methods for searching. We will work with standard academic formats, including MLA and APA.

Student Learning Outcomes (as established by gtPathways and WPA outcomes)

This course not only meets all the requirements for Written Communication (Student Learning Outcomes 1-5), but also reinforces learning outcomes for Oral/Presentational Communication (SLO 1 and 3), Inquiry and Analysis (SLOs 2 and 3), Diversity and Global Learning (SLO 1), Information Literacy (SLOs 2 and 3), and Civic Engagement (SLOs 1 and 4).

In terms of the primary SLOs for Written Communication:

This course demands students employ rhetorical knowledge by situating their writing in ongoing, online conversations and communities. The style, form, and tone of their writing is a reflection of the communities in which they write. Of course, this online approach to interacting with real, responsive audiences also reinforces Civic Engagement. The final academic research project requires them to adjust their previous research for an academic audience.

Similarly, the final academic paper asks them to situate their work within the genres and disciplinary conventions of a particular field. The presentation component of this final project reinforces Oral/Presentation Communication by using organization appropriate to the material and discipline and language appropriate to the topic and audience. This includes fundamental new media technologies such as videography and audio recording/editing essential to both public and academic communication in the 21st century.

Throughout the course, students will be exposed to various heuristics that help them to develop content relative to a particular rhetorical situation. Our regular, weekly workshops will demonstrate the utility of revision and expose them to how written communication can be received quite differently be different audiences (once again building their rhetorical awareness).

However, written communication is not solely the invention of new material; thus students will be required to use sources and evidence in support of their claim. Just as importantly, students will be required to objectively summarize and present the ideas of other writers and situate their perspective among those other writers in their discourse community (hence reinforcing SLO’s for Information Literacy and Inquiry and Analysis focusing on both quality and diversity of sources and Diversity and Global Learning, by learning how to respectfully represent viewpoints that differ from their own).

This course’s intensive, workshop-driven approach, with its emphasis on sentence-level continuity on clarity, helps students control syntax and develop mechanics.

Text and Materials

There is two required texts for this course:

  • Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
  • Williams, Joseph M. and Joseph Bizup. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. (Note that I will use exercises from this book in a number of our in-class writing exercises).

Other requirements:

  • Since we will be writing in class virtually every day, students should bring a laptop to class. If you do not have a laptop, you can check one out via the library.
  • Students should expect copying and printing costs for this class. You are expected to bring copies of the workshop materials to Friday’s sessions.
  • Students will be expected to use Google Docs and Google Drive to complete class assignments. Additionally, students will be publishing work in online spaces such as blogger, reddit, or medium.com.
  • This course uses the Canvas content management system. You can find instructions on logging into and using Canvas here.


Given the workshop elements of this course, attendance is essential. Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. That said, things happen. You may miss up to 4 classes this semester for any reason without penalty. Every absence beyond the 4th will result in a 10 point penalty. Please do not bring me doctor’s notes.

If you develop an illness or have a family situation that requires you to miss more than one class session, then please contact me as soon as possible to see if we can work something out. Note that we might not be able to work something out.

Students who miss class are responsible for the material they missed.


Completion of all assignments does not guarantee a passing course grade. Students should save all papers and graded assignments.

If you feel that i have unfairly graded an assignment, please email me to arrange an office hours meeting in which we can further discuss the evaluation. If you are still dissatisfied, then you should consult the university policies for a grade appeal.

Weighted and averaged points for the course will be computed according to the following plus or minus grade scale:

93–100= A 87–89 = B+ 77–79 = C+ 67–69 = D 0–66 = F
90–92 = A– 83–86 = B 73–76 = C
80–82 = B– 70-72 = C-

Number grades that fall between two whole numbers will be rounded up if they are 0.5 or higher. (Example: 86.5= 87; 86.3 = 86)

Major Phases

There’s three major phases this semester.

Phase One: Proposal

In the proposal phase you will articulate to me which discourse community you will join. Medium.com facilitates this process during account creation, since it offers you a variety of topics you might be interested in reading about. In addition to these recommendations, my fellow instructors and I have developed reading lists for various topics. You will begin by selecting one of these topics and identifying which authors or outlets you will pay attention to. You will also identify active places on the Internet at which people are writing and commenting and identifying a few of the major personalities that drive this community, beyond those we supply. I am interested in learning what you can add to this community, and how you see yourself fitting in. We will discuss this phase more during the first week of class.

Phase Two: Medium

During weeks 4-13 you will draft, revise, and publish 4 pieces on medium.com. Each piece is expected to be 800 to 1000 words and reference 2-5 (depending on depth) other perspectives on a single issue. At least 250 of these words should be a direct response to someone else in the community, quoting and hyperlinking to an other published piece.

Essentially, you will have two weeks per piece, with opportunities to workshop your writing or to visit office hours for feedback each week.

Phase Three: Academic Research Paper

After week 13, you will propose, research, draft, and revise a final research paper that grows out of your weekly writing.

Reading Quizzes and Quick Writes

There will be a few reading quizzes. Also, we will do a number of in-class activities called “quick writes.” All homework assignments are due at 3:00pm, before class.

Workshop Participation

Over the course of the semester, every student will select a piece of writing to be workshopped in class. Prior to class, other students will read and respond to these pieces of writing on Canvas. We will also do revision activities in-class via Canvas.


Here are the requirement weights:

  • Phase One: 10%
  • Phase Two: 40% [4 pieces, 10% per piece]
  • Phase Three: 20%
  • Reading Quizzes, In-Class Assignments: 20%
  • Workshop Participation: 20%
    • 10% for submitting a piece
    • 10% for weekly feedback

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity

All members of the University of Northern Colorado community are entrusted with the responsibility to uphold and promote five fundamental values: Honesty, Trust, Respect, Fairness, and Responsibility. These core elements foster an atmosphere, inside and outside of the classroom, which serves as a foundation and guides the UNC community’s academic, professional, and personal growth. Endorsement of these core elements by students, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees strengthens the integrity and value of our academic climate.

The Department of English at UNC has adopted the following policy regarding plagiarism. Pretending that another¹s work is one¹s own is a serious scholarly offense known as plagiarism. For a thorough discussion of plagiarism, see the Dean of Students website.

Students who are caught plagiarizing will receive a final grade of “F” in the course. In addition, they will be reported to the Chair of the Department of English and the Dean of Students office for possible further disciplinary action.

Some but not all UNC instructors regard double or repeat submissions of one¹s own work as a form of plagiarism. If you intend to use in this course written material that you produced for another course, you must consult with your instructor before doing so for each individual assignment. Otherwise, you may be guilty of cheating.

If you need help with understanding documentation systems and avoiding plagiarism beyond the instruction given in class and as seen in the UNC Code of Conduct, speak with the instructor or visit the UNC Writing Center’s web site for a series of PowerPoint tutorials at http://www.unco.edu/english/wcenter/academicintegrityindex.html. Instructors use experience and a plagiarism detection service, Safe Assignment, sponsored by the University, to aid in spotting cases of plagiarism. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Disability Accommodations

Disability Resources: It is the policy and practice of the University of Northern Colorado to create inclusive learning environments. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that present barriers to your inclusion or to an accurate assessment of your achievement (e.g. time-limited exams, inaccessible web content, use of videos without captions), please communicate this with your professor and contact Disability Support Services (DSS) to request accommodations. Office: (970) 351-2289, Michener Library L-80. Students can learn more about the accommodation process at http://www.unco.edu/disability-support-services/.

Parental Accommodations

As a parent, I understand that life can come at you fast. If you would miss a class session due to babysitting issues, please don’t. Feel free to bring you child to class.

Course Plan (Subject to Change)

Below is a sketch of our semester. Chances are things will change as we go. You should always consult the daily class notes when determining homework–whatever is posted there takes priority over whatever appears here.

Tuesday, August 22

Class: “Introduction to Argument”; read Timothy B. Lee’s “Pokemon Go is everything that is wrong with late capitalism”. Complete response sheet. Discuss in groups. Read Michael Farren and Adam Millsap’s “Pokemon Go represents the best of capitalism” Discuss in groups. Take attendance. Review syllabus.
Home: Read They Say, I Say preface and introduction. Post a 3-5 sentence response to either article read in class to Canvas using a bridge from the They Say, I Say.
NOTE: you can get instructions for logging into Canvas here. Next class meets in Ross 1240 computer lab.

Thursday, August 24

Class: MEET IN ROSS 1240 COMPUTER LAB. “Identifying a Community.” Review 3-5 responses to Monday’s readings. Troubleshoot Canvas. Introduce Phase One. Post to Canvas one community you might join. Discuss.
Home: Community research assignment
Here is some instructions for getting a sharable link in Google Docs. Next class in ROSS 1240 computer lab.

Tuesday, August 29

Class: MEET IN ROSS 1240 COMPUTER LAB. “Proposal Description” Genre: The Proposal (content and form). Craft: The Period (and logical development). Review community research.
Home: Read They Say, I Say pages pages 19-41 and 195-197. Complete exercise #1, but compose responses (one supportive, one critical) to IDENTIFY ESSAY FOR SUMMARY ASSIGNMENT. Each summary should be 4-5 sentences (and should therefore fit on one page). Post these exercises to Canvas. Draft proposals in Google Docs, be ready to share your proposals on Thursday.

Thursday, August 31

Class: Review essay summary exercises. Peer review proposals.
Home: Due Sunday, Sept 3 at 11:59pm, Proposal Project.

Tuesday, Sept 5

Class: “Proposal Feedback” Class Notes Discuss Proposals. Williams and Bizup on active verbs (28-30, 34).
Home: Read They Say, I Say chapter 3 (42-43). Use one of the templates from pages 46-47 as you draft your first medium piece.

Thursday, Sept 7

Class: Working in the computer lab
Home: Reminder to include a quotation using a bridge from They Say chapter 3 into your Week 4 writing. Submit Piece #1 Draft to Canvas by 11:59pm on Sunday.

Tuesday, Sept 12

Class: “Plagiarism, Quotation, and Internet Writing” Class Notes.
Defining plagiarism. Importance of context. Crafting signals. Contextualizing sources. At the end of class, reserve 10 minutes. Ask every student to write down one or two questions they have about the class. Williams and Bizup on characters. Workshop volunteers.

  • Read They Say, I Say chapter 4 on “Three Ways to Respond.” Incorporate a response strategy into Piece #1
  • I will email out links to or copies of the workshop writing for Thursday. You should read these pieces and provide feedback in the Canvas discussion forums. As you do, pay attention to central claims, make sure claims have evidence, note sentences that grab your attention, note sentences that you cannot understand. Look for sentences that pose questions that the next sentence doesn’t answer. Look for sentences that could use a clearer character or action.

Thursday, Sept 14

Class: “Ambiguity, Precision, and Clarity” Review class questions. Workshop.
Home: Due Sunday at 11:59pm, Piece #1 Final. Remember to use a bridge from chapter 4 of They Say, I Say to respond to a direct quotation.

Tuesday, Sept 19

Class: “First Sentences.” “Links, Transitions, Evidence.” Three workshop volunteers for Thursday.
Home: Read They Say, I Say chapter 5. Read and begin drafting Piece #2, using a bridge from They Say chapter 5.

Thursday, Sept 21

Class: Revising some sentences from #1 Pieces. Links
Home: Due Sunday at 11:59pm, Piece #2 Draft. Remember to use a bridge from They Say chapter 5.

Tuesday, Sept 26

Class: “Kairos and Stasis” Class Notes
Home: Read They Say, I Say Chapter 6. Complete exercise #2 on page 91. Read and begin drafting Piece #3.

Wednesday September 28
Class: “Logos, Ethos, and Pathos”
Discuss: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. Discuss exercise #2. Two workshop volunteers for Friday.
Home: I will email out links to or copies of the workshop writing for Friday. Before then, you should comment in the discussion forums for week 6 workshopping.
Friday September 30
Class: “Workshopping” Class notes.
Home: Due Sunday at 11:59pm, Piece #2 Final. P
Monday October 3rd
Class: Paraphrasing Exercise class notes.
Home: Read and write.
Wednesday October 5th
Class: Computer Lab. Revise and Draft.
Home: Workshop preparation, read and write.
Friday October 7th
Home: Due Sunday at 11:59pm, Piece #3 Draft (looking ahead, piece #3 has to use statistics in a meaningful way).
Monday October 10th
Class: Logos-Supplying Evidence to Support a Claim
Homework: Read and Write.
Wednesday October 12th
Class: Computer Lab. Making Data Meaningful (writing stats)
Home: Workshop prep. Revise.
Friday October 14th
Class: Workshop
Home: Due Sunday at 11:59pm, Piece #3 Final.
Monday October 17th
Class: Analogies (Metaphor and Simile)
Home: Read and Write. Include a metaphor in your weekly writing report.
Wednesday October 19th
Class: Computer Lab. Crafting Analogies Workshop.
Home: Workshop preparation.
Friday October 21st
Class: Workshopping. Evolution of “Politically Correct”
Home: Submit Piece #4 Draft.
Monday October 24th
Class: Pathos (and Apology)
Home: Read and write. Craft an apology.
Wednesday October 26th
Class: Computer Lab. Crafting a Signal Workshop.
Home: Workshop prep, read and write.
Friday October 28th
Class: Workshop. Introduce Booth reading.
Home: Submit Piece #4 Final.
Monday October 31st
Class: Reviewing Crafting a Signal for Sources. Prepping the Wayne Booth reading.
Home: Complete Booth reading. Canvas quick write: 200 words on a potential final topic.
Wednesday November 2nd
Class: Computer Lab. Booth topic exercise (Canvas).
Home: Read and write.
Friday November 4th
Class: Discuss potential topics, identify potential collaborations.
Home: Do some research for the final project; post short (5 sentence) summaries to Canvas.
Monday November 7th
INSTRUCTOR NOTE: These are the days you want to try and schedule your class to meet in the library for the their research workshop.

Class: Library research presentation / Reviewing the Booth exercise, potential research topics.
Home: Submit two pieces of research you will read to Canvas
Wednesday November 9th
Class: Library research presentation / Reviewing the Booth exercise, potential research topics.
Home: Submit two pieces of research you will read to canvas
Friday November 11th
Class: Williams and Bizup. Final paper overview. Meeting sign-ups.
Home: Research final paper.
Monday November 14th
Class: Final research and paper expectations (Take Two).
Home: Final Project Proposals are due Wednesday before class.
Wednesday November 16th
Class: No class: scheduled meetings.
Friday November 18th
Class: No class: scheduled meetings.
Home: Due before Monday’s class: the strongest paragraph in your paper submitted to Canvas. Cannot be your introduction.
Monday November 21st
Class: MLA and APA format workshop.
Monday November 28th
Class: Writing Introductions and Conclusions. Responding to Paper Drafts
Home: Work on revising final papers
Wednesday November 30th
Class: Computer Lab. MLA Formatting and Works Cited workshop.
Home: Final papers are due by Wednesday December 7th at 11:59pm.

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